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HindustanTimes Tue,29 Jul 2014

Coal row: Parliament adjourned for 9th day

Agencies  New Delhi, September 03, 2012
First Published: 08:08 IST(3/9/2012) | Last Updated: 16:05 IST(3/9/2012)

Both houses of Parliament were adjourned for the ninth day on Monday without having conducted normal business as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) persisted with its protest over allocation of coal blocks.

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Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha were adjourned for the day after the BJP noisily pursued the issue.

In Rajya Sabha, BJP members were on their feet soon after the house - following repeated adjournments - met at 2pm demanding cancellation of coal block allocations.

Deputy chairman PJ Kurien, who was presiding, then ordered adjournment for the day.

Similar scenes were witnessed in the Lok Sabha when it met again after noon forcing Speaker Meira Kumar to announce adjournment for the day.

The BJP, which has been demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, has now said that it will let Parliament function if the allocations are cancelled and a fair probe is ordered over the government auditor's report alleging irregularities in the allocation of coal blocks.

The monsoon session of Parliament, ending Sep 7, has seen its proceedings lost to BJP protests on the issue during the last two weeks.

Both houses first saw an adjournment till 12 noon. As soon as the respective houses met, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) members were again on their feet with their chant Pradhan Mantri isteefa do (Prime Minister step down)".

In Lok Sabha, Speaker Meira Kumar, ignoring the continuing din, quickly got passed several amendments to some bills and then announced adjournment for the day.

In Rajya Sabha, the BJP and its allies, including the Shiv Sena and Akali Dal, joined in the protests.

The DMK too joined in the protests but for a different reason - they were demanding a halt to training of the Sri Lankan army. The DMK members were holding aloft placards saying stop training the Sri Lankan army.

The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) in a report has quantified that the nation has lost around Rs.1.86 lakh crore ($37 billion) in coal block allocations to private players.

Congress President Sonia Gandhi had reached out to leader of opposition Sushma Swaraj to end the deadlock.

During the telephonic conversation between the two leaders, Swaraj said the government should announce cancellation of the controversial coal block allocations and order an independent inquiry.

An unrelenting BJP said it would continue pressing for its demand for the Prime Minister's resignation inside and outside Parliament.

The opposition NDA has been further emboldened by protests from Samajwadi Party, TDP and Left parties against the government on this issue.

"While there have been demands for the resignation of the Prime Minister and a high-level inquiry, now the common minimum denominator is cancellation of the coal block allocations as Samajwadi Party, the Left parties and everybody is demanding it," BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar told PTI.

He maintained that a majority of those in Parliament are demanding cancellation of coal blocks which is a major development. "Protest (in Parliament) has become people's protest and nation's protest," Javadekar said.

15th Lok Sabha most disrupted House ever
The 15th Lok Sabha, formed after the UPA returned to power with a healthier majority, is likely to go down as the most disrupted since 1952, the year of the first general election.

The data analysed by PRS, a research body on the parliamentary system, show the present term of Lok Sabha has already been disrupted more than any other before, with a 27% shortfall in working hours — a performance worse than 2004-09 or 1999-2004 of the NDA regime.

In November 2008 Lok Sabha secretariat had said each minute of parliamentary proceedings cost Rs. 29,000.

In the monsoon session, Lok Sabha sat for about 23 hours against the scheduled 60 hours and Rajya Sabha for 25 against the planned 50 hours, till Friday.

The disquiet over 2G spectrum had washed away an entire session — winter 2010 — and disruptions ever since have marred almost every session owing to issues like the Commonwealth Games, lokpal, price rise and Telangana statehood.

Even as they attribute the present stalemate to the BJP demanding the Prime Minister’s resignation, analysts have also highlighted the gaps in dialogue between the ruling and opposing sides.

(With inputs from IANS and PTI)


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